Cosmetic Safety | Skincare | Personal Care

Cosmetic Safety | Skincare, Personal Care

The difference in "life " and "quality of life".


cosmetics safetyFor Safe Natural Cosmetics, Skincare, Makeup, etc.

Catherine Zandonella

Physical beauty is partly external, but the products one uses to attain it contains chemicals that may penetrate much deeper. The average adult uses nine personal care products a day, with roughly 120 chemicals spread among them, many of which are incompletely tested for toxicity.

Below we've listed 12 chemicals that are best avoided. A single exposure to any of them is unlikely to cause harm, but daily exposure over a lifetime may add up. While shopping, do spend some time reading labels; even brands that promote themselves as "natural" or "botanical" have been known to include some of these.

  • Antibacterials: The triclosan in antibacterial soaps does NOT discriminate between good and bad bacteria. But we need good bacteria to survive, to help defend us against bad, harmful bacteria. Our immune systems are being left increasingly vulnerable with the use of antibacterial soaps, toothpastes and deodorants. Numerous studies have found that washing with regular soap and warm water is just as effective at killing germs.
  • Coal Tar: Coal tar is a known human carcinogen used as an active ingredient in dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams. Coal-tar-based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1, and FD&C Green 3 used in toothpaste and mouthwash, are carcinogenic in nature. It has determined in animal studies when injected under skin.

  • Diethanolamine (DEA): DEA is a possible hormone disruptor, has shown limited evidence of carcinogenicity and depletes the body of choline needed for fetal brain development. It also acts as a contaminant in products containing related chemicals, like cocamide DEA.
  • 1,4-Dioxane: Its a known animal carcinogen and a possible human carcinogen that can appear as a contaminant in products containing sodium laureth sulfate and ingredients that include the terms "PEG," "-xynol," "ceteareth," "oleth" and most other ethoxylated "eth" ingredients. A 2007 survey by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that most children's bath products contain 10 parts per million or less of this fatal chemical.

  • Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde has a long list of adverse health effects, including immune-system toxicity, respiratory irritation and cancer in humans. Yet it’s heavily used in baby bath soap, nail polish, eyelash adhesive and hair dyes.
  • Fragrance: The catchall term "fragrance" may mask phthalates, which act as endocrine disruptors and may cause obesity and reproductive problems. Avoid phthalates by selecting essential-oil fragrances instead. It has shown to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive systems in animal studies.

  • Lead and Mercury: Neurotoxic lead may appear in products as a naturally occurring contaminant of hydrated silica, it’s an ingredient of toothpaste, and lead acetate is found in some men's hair dye. Brain-damaging mercury, found in the preservative thimerosol.
  • Tiny particles, which may penetrate the skin and damage brain cells, are appearing in an increasing number of cosmetics and sunscreens. Most problematic are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, used in sunscreens to make them transparent.

  • Parabens (methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl-, isobutyl-): Parabens, which have weak estrogenic effects, are common preservatives found in various toiletries. A study found that butyl paraben damaged sperm formation in the testes of mice, also, sodium methylparaben, is banned in cosmetics by the E.U. Parabens break down in the body into p-hydroxybenzoic acid, which has estrogenic activity in human breast-cancer cell cultures.
  • Petroleum Distillates: Possible human carcinogens, petroleum distillates are restricted for use in cosmetics in the E.U. but are found in some U.S. brands of, foot-odor powder etc. Look out for the terms "petroleum" or "liquid paraffin."

  • P-Phenylenediamine: Generally found in hair dyes, this chemical can damage the nervous system, cause lung irritation and even severe allergic reactions.
  • Hydroquinone: Found in skin lighteners and facial moisturizers, hydroquinone is neurotoxic and allergenic, and there's limited evidence that it may cause cancer in lab animals.


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Note: This site was not created by a Medical Physician. The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided is intended for educational purposes. It is not to be construed as providing medical advice or substituting for professional services. All information provided is general, not specific, to individuals. Persons experiencing health problems should consult a medical professional


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